Title:
Cosmetic organization and identification system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cosmetic organization, storage and identification system having a preferably replaceable color indicator that permits visual identification of the color or shade of the contained cosmetic products.



Inventors:
Sherrer, Courtney E. (Atlanta, GA, US)
Senters, Lisa E. (Atlanta, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/997109
Publication Date:
05/25/2006
Filing Date:
11/24/2004
Assignee:
Lip Servus, LLC
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/581, 206/457
International Classes:
B65D85/00; B65D69/00; B65D73/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRANDON N. SKLAR. ESQ. (PATENT PROSECUTION) (KAYE SCHOLER, LLP 425 PARK AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY, 10022-3598, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cosmetic product storage, organization and identification system, comprising: a container having an opening, the container including a plurality of individual compartments to accept a plurality of cosmetic products placed in the opening; a cover for the container; and, a color indicator secured to an indicator support, the indicator support releasably affixed about the opening of the container and positioned to permit at least a portion of the color indicator to be adjacent to each of the plurality of individual compartments.

2. The invention of claim 1 wherein the color indicator is a plastic material prepared by polymerizing or co-polymerizing monomeric resins.

3. The invention of claim 2 wherein the top is transparent and permits the visual inspection of the color indicator without removing or opening the cover.

4. The invention of claim 3 wherein the cover includes a plurality of apertures over each of the plurality of individual compartments.

5. The invention of claim 2 wherein the color indicator is a resin selected from a group consisting of acrylonitriles, alkyl acrylates, alkyl metharylates, vinyl halides, acrylic acids, vinyl esters, vinyl acetates, butadienes and nylons.

6. The invention of claim 2 wherein the color indicator is porcelain enameled steel or laminated polymers selected from the group consisting of polyesters, polyolefins, polyurethanes, halopolymers, acrylics, styrene containing polymers, polyamides, vinyl polymers and combinations thereof.

7. A container for holding a plurality of cosmetic products in a plurality of individual compartments comprising: a nonabsorbent, low swelling, elastic color indicator for accepting a swab of said cosmetic product to identify the color of each cosmetic product; an indicator support for causing the color indicator to be removably secured to the container, the indicator support positioned to permit at least a portion of the color indicator to be adjacent to each cosmetic product.

8. The invention of claim 7 wherein the container includes a cover.

9. The invention of claim 8 wherein the cover is transparent.

10. The invention of claim 7 wherein the color indicator is both permanent and washable.

11. The invention of claim 7 wherein the indicator support and color indicator are replaceable and disposable.

12. The invention of claim 11 wherein the color indicator is a polyurethane-based cellular material.

13. A cosmetic product organization and identification system comprising. a container including a plurality of individual compartments for holding a plurality of cosmetic products; a color indicator means for accepting a swab of each cosmetic product and displaying the color of each cosmetic product; a means for securing the color indicator means to said container; and, wherein the container is made in units that can be expanded by attaching individual units to each other.

14. The invention of claim 13 including a means for covering the container.

15. The invention of claim 14 wherein the means for covering permits visual inspection of the color indicator means.

16. The invention of claim 13 including a means for interconnecting one system to another system.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present inventions relate generally to the storage of items, especially cosmetics. In particular, the present inventions relate to containers for the storage, organization and identification of cosmetic products, in which the color of the cosmetic product, such as lipstick, can be displayed adjacent the storage compartment containing the product.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

As will be appreciated, users of cosmetics typically have a wide variety of cosmetic products in an array of colors and shades. In the case of lipsticks, for example, it is not unusual for users to often have a large number of containers with products in different shades or colors. Most of these products are kept in drawers, making it difficult to quickly locate the desired color or shade.

For example, when cosmetics are purchased, some of them include a sticker or similar means to identify the color or shade of the product. Lipstick, for example, usually comes in a tube with a cover. One end of the tube may be provided with a sticker to indicate the color of the product inside. These stickers are prone to falling off and/or fading over time, making the identification of the exact color or shade of the product difficult or impossible without opening the lipstick tube itself. In addition, many lipstick products do not have an external visual color indication at all. Thus, to determine the color of the contents, it is necessary to open the tube of the product and visually inspect the contents.

As indicated, the identification and organization problems are compounded by the fact that many cosmetic users typically have many different tubes of lipstick or other types of cosmetic products at any given time. Thus, there is a need for a reliable lipstick storage, organization and identification system that enables the user to quickly and accurately visually determine the precise color or shade of the product and to select the appropriate lipstick or cosmetic without opening each lipstick tube or other cosmetic container. Moreover, because cosmetic users purchase new products of different colors, it is desirable that the identification component of the system be reusable or replaceable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present inventions to provide an improved cosmetic product storage, organization and identification system, which the color or shade can be displayed near the individual compartment containing the product. In a preferred embodiment, the system includes a container having an opening and a plurality of individual compartments to hold a plurality of cosmetic products, a cover for the container, and a color indicator secured to an indicator support, the indicator support releasably affixed about the opening of the container to permit at least a portion of the color indicator to be positioned adjacent each of the plurality of individual compartments. The color indicator may be a plastic material prepared by polymerizing or co-polymerizing monomeric resins, including monomeric resins from a group consisting of acrylic, vinyl, nitrile or nylon monomeric resins. Alternatively, although not preferred, the color indicator may be affixed directly to the container or cover. The organizer system may also include the ability to interconnect a plurality of containers to accommodate additional or new cosmetic products.

The present inventions also provide for a container for holding a plurality of cosmetic products in a plurality of individual compartments having a nonabsorbent, low swelling, elastic color indicator for accepting a swab or sample of a cosmetic product to permit the identification of the color of the cosmetic product, and an indicator support for the color indicator so that it may be removably secured to the container, the indicator support positioned to permit at least a portion of the color indicator to be adjacent to each cosmetic product. The inventions may also desirably include a washable and/or replaceable color indicator.

The present inventions further provide for a cosmetic product organization and identification system having a container with a plurality of individual compartments for holding a plurality of cosmetic products, a color indicator means for accepting a sample of each cosmetic product and displaying the color of each cosmetic product, and means for securing the color indicator to the container. Means to interconnect multiple containers may also be provided.

INVENTOR'S DEFINITION OF THE TERMS

The terms used in the claims of this patent are intended to have their broadest meaning consistent with the requirements of law. Where alternative meanings are possible, the broadest meaning is intended. All words used in the claims are intended to be used in the normal, plain, customary usage of grammar and the English language.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The stated and unstated features and advantages of the present inventions will become apparent from the following descriptions and drawings wherein like reference numerals represent like elements in the various views, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention, shown with an exemplary cosmetic product;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the principal components of a preferred embodiment of the present invention of FIG. 1, without the exemplary cosmetic product;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3, showing a preferred method of interconnection; and,

FIG. 5 is a side perspective view of the indicator support and color indicator of a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Set forth below is a description of what is currently believed to be the preferred embodiments or best known representative examples of the inventions claimed. Future and present alternatives and modifications to the embodiments and preferred embodiments are contemplated. Any alternatives or modifications which make insubstantial changes in function, purpose, structure or result are intended to be covered by the claims of this patent.

The present inventions generally provide a base 14 including a plurality of individual compartments 15 to store a plurality of cosmetic products, such as lipstick 12. A color indicator 20 is provided on the base 14, at least a portion of which is adjacent to each of the plurality of compartments 15. The color indicator 20 may be swabbed by the cosmetic product, such that it retains a sample of the product without degradation for a substantial period of time and thus serves as a visual indication of the color or shade of the cosmetic. Preferably, the color indicator is reusable or replaceable so that new or different cosmetic products may be stored and their color identified. An optional removable or hinged lid 16 may be provided. The organizer 10 may take a variety of shapes, including rectangular, square, round and the like. It may also include any number of desired compartments 15 that are sized and shaped to hold the desired type of cosmetic products and when desired can be attached to interconnect with each other to accommodate more products.

A preferred embodiment of the cosmetic organizer 10 of the present invention is shown generally in FIGS. 1-5. In this embodiment, the organizer 10 is shown holding a lipstick tube 12 as the cosmetic product (FIG. 1). However, it will be understood by those of skill in the art that the present inventions are applicable to a wide variety of cosmetic products, including mascara, eyeliner and the like, and may be modified to accommodate such items as necessary.

The organizer 10 includes a base 14 and a removable cover 16. The base 14 and cover 16 of the organizer 10 can be made of any suitable material, such as plastic, wood, metal, cardboard and the like. Organizer 10 is desirably of a size and shape to fit within a conventional drawer. The organizer 10 may be made in repeatable unit sizes so two or more units can be placed side-by-side or connected together depending upon the number of individual units that are needed and as hereinafter described. A removable and transparent or translucent cover 16 is preferred, which fits over the base 14 and protects the color indicator 20 from ambient conditions thereby enabling easy visual inspection.

As shown in FIGS. 1-3, in a preferred embodiment of the organizer 10, six individual compartments 15 are provided. The compartments 15 may be created by a series of divider walls 17, including longitudinal walls 18 that can be adapted to receive indicator support 22. In this embodiment, longitudinal walls 18 are provided with notches 19 that are sized to accommodate tabs 24 of indicator support 22, as hereinafter described. In its preferred form, divider walls 17 and longitudinal walls 18 are integrally formed with base 14, and designed to accommodate and separate lipstick tubes 12 or other cosmetic products. However, it will be understood that compartments 15 may be created in a variety of ways, such as divider walls 17 and longitudinal walls 18 being formed of separate components and inserted and/or affixed in base 14.

Organizer 10 also includes at least one color indicator 20. Color indicator 20 accepts a swab or sample of the cosmetic product and accurately displays the color or shade of the product which is located in the adjacent compartment 15 for efficient identification of the color of the cosmetic. Color indicator 20 may be affixed to base 14 in a variety of ways to permit at least a portion of color indicator 20 (or individual color indicators 20, not shown) to be positioned adjacent to each of the compartments 15. For example, although not preferred, color indicator 20 may be affixed directly to divider walls 17, longitudinal walls 18 or cover 16.

Most desirably, however, and in order to enhance replaceability and/or reusability of organizer 10 and/or color indicator 20, color indicator 20 can be attached to an indicator support 22 (FIG. 5), so that at least a portion of color indicator 20 is adjacent each compartment 15. If indicator support 22 and color indicator 20 are embodied as a continuous strip (as shown in FIGS. 2 and 5), the color indicator strip 20 should not allow bleeding to adjacent areas, thus maintaining the integrity of the identification system. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including ridges, spaces and the like (not shown). Preferably, color indicator 20 and/or indicator support 22 are replaceable or washable so fresh samples can be displayed over time as either the same or different cosmetic products are kept in any particular compartment or as the organization of the products changes. In addition, color indicator 20 should be capable of displaying a small sample of the cosmetic for weeks or months, depending upon the useful life of the cosmetic product itself. In the continuous strip embodiment of color indicator 20 as shown, at least a portion of color indicator 20 is adjacent to each compartment 15.

As shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 5, indicator support 22 and the associated color indicator 20 are releasably secured on longitudinal wall 18 by inserting tabs 24 of indicator support 22 into corresponding notches 19 on longitudinal wall 18 (FIG. 2). In this manner, among others, the color indicator 20 and/or indicator support 22 can be sold and replaced separately. Alternatively, they may be washed and reused. The indicator 20 and support 22 can also be made as a single piece as well, making the entire integral component (with tabs 24) replaceable.

Also in the preferred embodiment, a removeable cover 16 is provided. Cover 16 includes optional apertures 13 that generally align with compartments 15. Apertures 13 are sized to accommodate the type of cosmetic product intended to be stored in organizer 10. As a result, cosmetic products may be placed in each compartment 15 without removing or opening cover 16. It is also preferred that cover 16 be translucent or transparent so that color indicator 20 may be viewed without opening or removing cover 16. Thus, cosmetic products may be inserted in and removed from organizer 10, and their color identified, without opening cover 16. This embodiment has particular applicability when it is desired to store cosmetic products in typical drawers. In addition, smearing, contamination or fading of the swab or sample applied to color indicator 20 is minimized or prevented.

The preferred embodiment may also include a means to interconnect a plurality of cosmetic organizers 10. For secure attachment and ease of manufacturing, a dove-tail type connector is desired. Specifically, one or more of the sides of a base 14 are provided with a recess or female portion 26 of the dove-tail joint. A removeable slat 27 is provided and configured to form opposing protrusions 28 or male portion of the joint.

As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the base 14 of at least two organizers 10 may be positioned adjacent to each other with their respective recesses 26 aligned. Slat 27, with opposing protrusions 28, is inserted into recesses 26, forming the dove-tail joint. In this non-limiting manner, a desired number of organizers 10 may be connected together. It will be understood by one of ordinary skill that a variety of means of interconnection may be used. For example, rather than having a separate slat 27, one side of base 14 may be provided with a recess 26 and another side with an integral protrusion 28.

Color indicator 20 is preferably made from a material which retains a color sample or swab of the cosmetic by displaying it on the surface of color indicator 20. Most desirably, the material of color indicator 20 retains the cosmetic sample's color without fading or degradation over time. It is also desirable that the indicator material balances absorbency and washability. Generally, the more absorbent the material of color indicator 20, the less likely it is to be washable and, hence, it must be replaced from time to time with fresh material. When desired, however, the color indicator 20, indicator support 22 and/or the entire organizer can be washed in a conventional dishwasher, washing machine, or with water or a solvent like acetone, or the like after substantial use.

In selecting the appropriate material for color indicator 20, it is useful to note that lipsticks and other cosmetic products are typically comprised of 20% waxes (beeswax, carnuba wax, paraffin wax), 40% oils (castor oil, mineral oil, vegetable oil), 5% pigments or dyes (Eosin, Pigment Red 144), 10% titanium dioxide, and 25% emollients (isopropyl lanolate, cetyl lactate). For example, many lipsticks also contain trace amounts of anti-oxidants, fatty acids, vitamins, sun-screens, and moisturizers. The indicator materials and their equivalents discussed herein retain the color of the lipstick products without substantial degradation over time.

Specifically, it has been found that plastic materials suitable for the preferred color indicator 20 of the present invention will have low swelling properties and not absorb significant amounts of water. The materials should also desirably be elastic, dense, washable, and reusable several times. Such plastic materials include those that are prepared by polymerizing or co-polymerizing monomeric acrylic, vinyl, nitrile, rubber, or nylon-based resins. These resins include acrylonitriles, alkyl acrylates (methyl acrylate, butyl acrylate), alkyl methacrylates (methyl methacrylate), acrylic acids (methacrylic acid), vinyl halides (vinyl chloride), vinyl esters, vinyl acetates (vinyl proprionate, vinyl butyrate), butadienes (1,3-butadiene, acrylonitrile butadiene), nylons (hexamethylene diamine) and equivalents thereof. Examples of commercially available plastic materials that have the attributes to practice and are therefore suitable for the color indicator of the present inventions include Mr. Clean® Multi-purpose Vinyl by Proctor & Gamble Company and Playtex® by Playtex Products, Inc., both of which are used for gloves.

Other suitable materials are the erasable white boards used in offices and businesses. In the case of the white board embodiment, the indicator material is a rigid, non-porous, non-tacky white board. Examples of such commercially available products include Porcelain Magnetic Whiteboard by US MarkerBoard™ and Melamine Dry Erase Board by Whiteboards, Etc. White boards surfaces are comprised of porcelain enameled steel or laminated polymers that have undergone hard coat treatment with agents such as polysiloxane. The polymers in the latter models could be homopolymers or copolymers of polyesters, polyolefins, polycarbonates, polyurethanes, halopolymers, acrylics, styrene containing polymers, polyamides, vinyl polymers and combinations thereof. Examples of such polymers include, poly(chlorotrifluoro ethylene), ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene copolymer, ethylene tetrafluoroethylene copolymer, fluorinated ethylene-propylene copolymers, poly(vinylidene fluoride), poly(vinyl fluoride), poly(vinylidene chloride), poly(vinyl chloride), homopolymers and copolymers of tetrafluoroethylene, homopolymers and copolymers of hexafluoropropylene, homopolymers and copolymers of vinylidene fluoride and mixtures thereof.

When the indicator material is absorbent (and thus not washable), it must be replaced from time to time. Examples of suitable absorbent (and thus replaceable) materials are cosmetic grade foams, such as the polyurethane-based cellular materials sold by Lendell Manufacturing Co. under the name Noatex® foam. These materials are hydrophilic, have favorable swelling characteristics, are low density and can retain oil-based lipsticks. Others include washable and reusable foams such as those sold under the trade name Rynel®.

Thus, the cosmetic organizer 10 of the present invention allows a user to both store and organize cosmetic products such as lipstick 12 in separate individualized compartments 15 and to quickly identify and retrieve one having a particular color or shade. By making the organizer 10 repeatable, that is, in a unit form that can be expanded (e.g., by interconnecting a number of organizers 10), the system can accommodate a large number of individual products. By using a washable color indicator 20 in strip form or individual swabs, the system can be more flexible so that a user can replace products and reorganize them in whatever way desired. Finally, by using disposable instead of permanent-washable color indicator 20 (or combined integral indicator 20 and support 22), the system can remain fresh and up-to-date without any chance of materials degrading over time.

The above description is not intended to limit the meaning of the words used in or the scope of the following claims that define the invention. Rather, it is contemplated that future modifications in structure, function or result will exist that are not substantial changes and that all such insubstantial changes in what is claimed are intended to be covered by the claims. Thus, while preferred embodiments of the present inventions have been illustrated and described, it will be understood that changes and modifications can be made without departing from the claimed invention.

Various features of the present inventions are set forth in the following claims.